Blues face a tricky away day in Lisbon
Chelsea’s failure to hang on to an advantage has already cost them dear in a couple of vital games this season – perhaps they are just not set up to defend a lead – so it will be interesting to see how Jose Mourinho approaches this potentially tricky game at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.
Though a native of Lisbon and a former coach under Sir Bobby Robson at Sporting, Mourinho went on to manage Sporting’s great rivals Benfica, as well as Porto, so won’t be expecting a warm welcome from supporters of last season’s Primeira Liga runners-up.
Sporting have made a modest start to the new campaign, having drawn four of their six league games so far in Portugal. They were also held by Group G minnows Maribor, conquerors of Celtic, in their opening Champions League fixture but have a terrific record on home soil in European competition having not lost in 16 matches.
They’ve also only been beaten once at home in nine games against teams from England so this is no easy task for Chelsea, who need to get a win on the board having been pegged back by Schalke at Stamford Bridge two weeks ago.
Diego Costa is again likely to start in Portugal having already scored eight times since arriving from Atletico Madrid in the summer, even though Mourinho admits the Spanish striker has hardly trained due to an ongoing hamstring problem, but Brazil midfielder Ramires misses out. Thibault Courtois looks as though he’s now the number one goalkeeper and will probably play behind a familiar-looking back four.
Sporting will field Manchester United loanee Nani and the much-admired William Carvalho but you suspect that Marco Silva’s side will have to be at their very best to get a result if Chelsea are on their game, though Sporting are attractively priced to win at 9/2 for a side with such an impressive home record. We are offering three total goals at 16/5, which looks interesting.
The match kicks off at 7.45pm on Tuesday, September 30th at the Estadio Jose Alvalade, Lisbon.